Train horses…do accounting…teach…write…

14 Jun

“Hey Stacy, I was just wondering if you ever wanted to do something besides/along with training horses? If training didn’t work out what do you think you would have chosen as an alternate career path?”-Kendall

I always dreamed of working with horses. Growing up I thought the only real options in the industry were; farrier, vet, something to do with racehorses. I actually cried when I grew over five feet tall!

I was a junior in high school when a teacher asked me, “What will you do after high school?”

Jesse and Stacy Westfall

Jesse and Stacy Westfall

I responded, “I dunno, go to school for accounting or something.”

I’m not exactly sure where that answer came from, especially considering that my kids have greater math skills now then I did as a junior in high school.  Maybe it was inspired because it was my math teacher asking the question. I was good with accounting and at least I knew people could do it as a living.

That teacher asked me one of the most important questions anyone has ever asked me, “What do you want to do?”

Without hesitation I answer (full of sarcasm), “I want to ride horses but you can’t go to school for that.” (teenage eye-roll for added emphasis)

He challenged me to go look at the college book…right then. (…pre-internet moment here).

I was shocked that you COULD go to school for that. So I did.

Knowing what I know now, but removing the horses, I would teach and write. Or write and teach. I love the process of learning and teaching goes hand and hand with it.

I also love writing because in general, I get a chance to think about my subject and really study it. Blogging daily is actually hard for me because I don’t have as much time to polish everything the way I wish I could and because there are always critics.

I was so shy when I was young that it is probably a shock to people who knew me that I speak in public like I do. My point in mentioning this little fact is that I never would have guessed that I would speak in public like I do. Life is funny like that, it is strange to think about all of the options it contains.

If you read this post, leave a comment about a career you would love to do…and why you are NOT doing it.


Posted by on June 14, 2014 in Life, Members Question


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74 responses to “Train horses…do accounting…teach…write…

  1. Mary Craig

    June 14, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I would sing in a Southern Gospel quartet. That music stirs my soul like no other.

  2. Kelsey

    June 14, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I wanna ride and train horses and be just like you but I am too young

  3. Nikki Hale

    June 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I would LOVE to do anything in the horse industry! In fact, I hope someday to be able to attend Colorado State University for their equine genetics and reproduction program….. or orthopedics….. or nutrition…… or any of the above, lol. I am not currently doing that because I cannot afford to do that. My hope is that someday in the future my husband, who is a disabled veteran, will attain his permanent and total disability status through the VA and then I should be able to get 4 years of schooling paid for.
    In the mean time, I work part time at a local grocery store, am going to school full time for medical transcription (ugh…..) and playing with my horses when I have time and money for it. I have 3 right now, but someday I would love to have a barn full and be able to spend all of my time with them.

  4. Robin Bright

    June 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I thought about many careers while in college. I thought about computer programming but had a professor that was smart enough to ask me if I wanted to do it 40 hours a week. I was pre- eternary until Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy kicked my butt. I thought about being a national park ranger but hated moving.

    All said and done, I am very happy with my career. I teach at a small university and play with my horses in my spare time.

  5. Holly Shrefler

    June 14, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I would love to do the accounting or train. Oh heck. I’d do both. I’m just getting back into horses after being gone for over 20 years. Making new contacts every day. It’s hard to start again at 50.

  6. Sheila

    June 14, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Getting to were I want to be, I have 2 quarter horse mares, I love to take care and ride as often as possible. Finally bought a 6 acre place with an old farmhouse in need of some major tlc, paid cash, and working on remodeling, building fences, and enjoy, knowing my horses are right out the door. No more renting pasture and having to drive to feed , care and ride my girls. Hopefully a few more years I will be able retire from my job, and spend full-time here riding and enjoying this peaceful place

  7. Sarah

    June 14, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I have been lucky enough to live my dream as well. I started on track to become a lawyer, but ended up working with animals every single day as a veterinary technician. I work with primarily large animals which keeps me close to horses. The clinic I work for is at a university so learning is an every day thing. Teaching vet students is a blast, and the animals are fabulous. I live on a 17 acre ranch and have my own critters, horses included! Life can be amazing if you follow your passion!

  8. Dani-Claire Graumlich

    June 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    be rancher but my parents won’t move out west.

  9. Cristi Farnsworth Barkley

    June 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I would love to be a writer. To be able to set my own schedule around my kids and still have time to do all the things that I love to do. I know writers have deadlines, etc, but it’s still a flexible job.

  10. Elizabeth

    June 14, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I spent my whole life not really knowing what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now I’m in my 30’s and do know what I’d like to do with my life but the obstacles ahead of me are too challenging (financially). I have spent the last 16 years at the same retail establishment, not a place I thought I’d be forever, but also not a terrible place, it pays my bills and for that I am truly grateful. Recently, I got a part time job working at a Veterinarian’s Office (very, very) part time, I’d love to work there full time but I need an education in the Vet Tech degree in order to leave my current job. The cost of the online schooling that teaches what I need to do to in order to make money there is too expensive at this time. However, discouraging as this can be, I am actually really grateful for what I do have – I’m married, we have a house, pets and our health… so while I can’t do what I really want to do with my career and job. I am still happy…. just goes to show you that even an undesirable path can still lead to happiness.

  11. Brittany Joyner

    June 14, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    In all honesty, I always had a dream to go live in Montana with a stable of my own and own a bunch of horses that I take care of, maybe even use it as a safe haven for children who are having problems with divorced parents (since my parents were going through their divorce at the time, I found it quite fitting). I also wanted to be an architect. Sadly my skills in math are mediocre at best so I looked into horses and found that horses were very expensive, plus I never grew up in the horse industry, heck I rode my first horse at 19 (I turn 23 this month). Right now, I’m going to school for a Creative Writing bachelor’s degree and will be graduating next fall. As much as I love to write, I would still love to get involved in the horse industry, just seems to get more and more expensive the older I get.

  12. Maria

    June 14, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I’m attending college this coming fall, and I would do anything with horses if I could. Unfortunately, I’m no quite so good at biology, so vet was not an option for me. I settled with Computer Science… gives me enough money and spare time to do what I really want to do, ride horses! Growing up in a highly populated suburban area, it has always been to expensive for me to own my horse, so I’ve had to settle with leasing and lessons. I’m anxious to make enough money to own my own horse!

  13. paula

    June 14, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I am sixteen and I loove your blogs. I have loved horses since I was little, unfortunately I live in Lansing michigan and am not able to ride at all. I really want to do either a drawing career or a career with horses,preferably horses. But I am not sure what my options would be. I do not want to be a veterinarian,farrier and definitely not a jockey. What could I do? Could you possibly give me pointers and or suggestions? Thanks!

  14. paulastevens7

    June 14, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I am in love with horses and your blogs. Unfortunately I live in the city with no access to horses. I am sixteen and curious if you could give me a few possible jobs that involve horses, outside of vet and farrier.


    • Stacy

      November 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Your question was todays blog! Here is the link😉

      • Paula S.

        November 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        I saw! Too cool,you are my equine idol,would love to meet you someday!

  15. Teresa Coleman-Blankenship Powell

    June 14, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I wanted to be a country music singer. I wasn’t good enough.

  16. Angela

    June 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    My background is in Retail, and I have an associates degree in retail management. I also have an associates and a bachelor’s degree in equine science and equine business management respectively. I just applied for a job as a barn supervisor, but I haven’t had an interview yet. It’s hard to find your dream job, and when you do, there is almost always stiff competition. I believe that I can do the job well, but I also believe that if someone else is more qualified, then by all rights they should have the job. I love working with all kinds of animals. It’s truly where I feel happiest. I just need the right opportunity to get my foot in the door.

  17. Marty Wilson

    June 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Wow. I think about this almost every day. First, I have a job I love. Yet, I have burn out. I sell dog food. Every day I work I get to visit with people who some are customers, and better yet some are more like family. Many have shopped with me since I started working for So Ag on 8-22-1996. I have watched families grow with new babies, and shrink from loss of old humans. Yet the best part of my job are the dogs. I get to hug and kiss on dogs. Some days it is a cart full of beautiful Maltese puppies in training for shows, or mutts that were shot and tossed out like trash. In my eyes, they all have beauty.

    Now for what and why I don’t have my real dream job. That would be to operate a center for animals. Dogs, cats, horses! Can’t for get those. You name a critter humans call pets and they all would be welcome. I want it to be a one stop place of WOW. People can come with their pets, or leave them for our family of workers to tend to every need. Playing in the pond, diving off the dock. Getting a little bit of training, a good workout, a zoom about the agility field or just dig a hole in one of the secure dog yards. I would like to offer all kinds of healing. Notice I said healing. Not medical care. Be it Veterinay services or acupuncture, chiropractic care or a visit with the pet communicator. They would all be there should the pet need their services.

    I would love there to be a cafe or sandwich bar where people can get a cup of coffee or a full meal to enjoy with their pets right at their feet. Some of the bigger kids may have to stand on the edge of the patio, unless house broken. A little hair in ones dinner is just added fiber.

    You see, I dream big. So it would take big bucks to get started. It could start small and grow, but I am not good at asking others to risk their money to help me with my dream.

    So, I will remain as long as I can where I’m at, and maybe one day, someone will see my dream and have the ability to make it happen.

    Love and light. Marty

  18. christiancowgirlpoetry

    June 14, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I was an English major in college with a concentration in creative writing, but I always wanted to be an archeologist. I got married young and started a family, which pretty much disqualified me from trotting the globe. Instead, I trot around on a horse, work and play in the dirt (sometimes by accident), and discover fascinating, new things about myself, my horse, and my “world” every day alongside my equine partner, “Hook.” I share those discoveries on It’s not “archeology” per se, but I’ve come to believe that if the eyes of your heart and mind are open, life is full of hidden treasures for you to find! It’s all good! 🙂

  19. David booker

    June 14, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    My dream job would be to show cutting horses professionally! I’m not able to because I have to work out of town to make the money to pay the bills and provide insurance for my wife and three daughters. Without my amazing friends and family we wouldn’t make it! My wife is sick with some crazy disease that even Vanderbilt can’t figure out what to call. Every dime I make right now goes to medical bills and travel expenses to and from different doctors and hospitals. But… In my spare time my girls and I love messing around with our horses. We have 2. My middle daughter just got second showing or 3 year old in a 4-H Halter class! First show for her and her Colt! I do want to say thank you Stacy! I have used several of your articles for advice in order to teach my girls patience and a little bit of elbow grease can take them anywhere!

  20. Grace

    June 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Equine surgeon, but I’m 13 now, so gotta wait a bit!

  21. Christina

    June 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I always wanted to go to medical school when I was a teenager. Life threw me a curve ball, and I had to raise my 4 sisters which meant I couldn’t even go to college at the time. I loved horses as a kid but we lived in the heart of Houston, Texas and horses weren’t an option. I got married, had kids, returned to college and got my degree – in accounting. I was proud to be able to finish cum laude! My daughter got hooked into horses at the age of 8 and she shows in Dressage. Because of her passion for riding, and to give me something to do while I was at the barn watching her practice, I adopted an off the track standardbred. So now, I work part-time in accounting, I’m a full-time wife & mother and when I’m not cheering my daughter on in her compeitions, I’m enjoying my own horse.

  22. Melanie

    June 14, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    My daughter wants to go to school I. Va. But is afraid bc its 7 hours from home. She wants to ride train and teach. She really is gifted I hope she changes her mind. She would be so good at it.

  23. Megan Kennedy

    June 14, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Photographer. I work with special needs children and I live my job…but…my heart is with my capture emotions on faces,a beautiful sunset, memories.I don’t because I’m scared.simply stated.I’m scared I’m not good enough.that my work won’t be liked or appreciated. But I try to learn and improve and just like my dream of horse ownership…someday.

  24. Cari

    June 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I would love to do therapy with horses for troubled people. especially with autistic. kids
    I never did as I was raised to believe to go after money and security and I didn’t believe I could afford to do it…(I have had horses/ ridden luckily since I was 7 years old but haven’t since the last horse I was leasing became lame…at least I can still visit her.

  25. gypsygirl2283

    June 14, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I am a nurse and have been for 16 years. I love my interaction with my residents. I was raise a country girl and grew up on a farm. I am 49yo and I wish I could combine my love for people and animals and make enough money to support my families needs

  26. Stacey Johnson

    June 14, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    I always wanted to work with animals, but when I went to college, I only thought to do that would be to become a vet. I didn’t think I could do that ( put animals to sleep, surgery, etc), so I became a software developer. I still wish I could work with animals, maybe when I retire.

  27. Shelly

    June 14, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    The career I would love to do is be a veterinarian. I worked at a vets office for 5 years and was the best job ever. The reason I am not doing that is because I am the rebel of the family and they gave me an ultimatum and of course being the rebel I did just the opposite of what I should have done. But I do enjoy the job I have now and I have plenty of time to be with my horse and my 4 legged pal “Tuff”!!!!

  28. Sonja McCaleb

    June 14, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Interesting you’d ask this question. Just took a huge leap of faith and quit my job as a paralegal with a successful law firm to come home to run a full-time non-profit equine therapy ranch and also train our own horses. We love working with the people who come to Loco Bonita Ranch in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Our Ranch is not necessarily for physically handicapped but for people who need healing in their hearts. We do this free of charge so we are depending on The Lord to meet our every need.
    Now that I’m 50 and not quite as agile as I used to be, a little heavier and somewhat fearful to lope, this will have some challenges. However, you can’t argue with passion. Looking forward to what the future holds. 😊

  29. Susan

    June 14, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Horses have been my first and always my only LOVE my whole life!!

  30. belinda henley

    June 15, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I have a “practical” career in mechanical design, but my childhood dream is to ride horses, all day, everyday and get paid for it. Why am I not doing it? Because somewhere along the line I began to believe that riding horses was not a real job and a “pipe” dream and I bought into society’s definition of what a job should be and now I feel like I’ve been doing the wrong thing for the last 20 years. So, I’m praying about it and asking God to show me how I can achieve my dream.
    He blessed me with a problem pony that was really spooky of everything 6 months ago. I thought about just selling her and getting rid of the problem but my 4 year old was already in love with her, even though the pony had dumped her 4 times in the first month we had her.
    I prayed about that too and then I believe God showed me that if I quit on the pony, she would just get passed on to the next unsuspecting family and I decided at that point that I was going to start her all over again as if she had never been touched by human hands, I would do the training myself, having no experience training horses, what so ever. That’s how I was led to you and Sean Patrick and Clinton Anderson.
    For the past 6 months I have been re-training the pony on everything, ground work, sacking out, and my hard work has paid off. She is not the same pony she was 6 months ago. No longer afraid of the stick or plastic bags, or her stirrups swinging around, no longer head shy and for the first time, I led her out on trail, tacked up, with my daughter on her back for a 2 hour trail ride and she was a complete angel! Confident, secure, a trust-worthy little ride, she has become.A trainer at the ranch where I board her, even paid me a compliment on the transformation that this pony has made in the last 6 months. I think I’m on my way to achieving my dreams, but I’m just taking it one day at a time and being consistent and praying for guidance every step of the way. God knows what’s in my heart and I believe HE can and will make it happen, I just have to keep doing what I’m doing.

  31. tigerimac

    June 15, 2014 at 12:53 am

    I would love to work with horses as my JOB! I work in the IT industry and I do help people which is a rewarding feeling but it is not my true dream job. I had my kids in my early 20’s and couldn’t afford to go to college. I became a self taught business woman raising my kids, managing my husband and running a full time business. Now the kids are grown, I am single again, but feel too old to get a college degree and compete with 20 year olds for the same jobs. I would love to spend my days working with horses and charitable foundations like Last Chance Corral.

  32. Chelsea

    June 15, 2014 at 12:58 am

    Like most teenage girls with horses, I wanted to grow up to be a horse trainer. After a few years of obsessing over designing my barn, which horses I would buy, where I would live, etc, my mom told me I needed to follow a more academic path. Regardless of her reasoning behind that statement, I explored equine rehab and fell in love. I worked an apprenticeship with a few people who did holistic animal care, spent my free time reading equine health textbooks, and the day after I turned 18, I started my own business. It was successful, especially considering that I knew nothing about owning or marketing a business. Though, I decided that I needed to be taken more seriously before I could truly feel confident about promoting myself. And I decided that the way to get there would be through Veterinary Medicine. I figured out what I needed to do (both in school and outside it), joined the in-state university with the best rodeo team, and started on my way. I was immediately hired as a Vet Assistant at a local animal hospital, earned excellent grades in school, and enjoyed a few rodeos here and there. By age 20, before I even earned half the credits toward a Bachelor’s degree, I was accepted into Vet School at WSU. But, one week before I was required to enroll, I decided that I couldn’t do it. I worked so hard to get here, designed my whole life out of this dream… but I couldn’t go through with it. This is because in addition to my work at the Vet hospital, I also rode and trained the horses owned by local vets. I realized that none of the vets I worked with had time to ride their own horses! The entire reason I fell in love with this profession is because I loved spending time with my horse… and if I pursued it, I wouldn’t be able to do that! I wouldn’t have the money to compete, nor the time to train. It crushed me.

    For a year, I just continued undergraduate school and tried out different professions that were about an 8/10… but that could give me the time and money to work with my own horses. I settled on Dentistry and just like with Veterinary Medicine, I backed out after I was accepted. I had been accepted to two of the most difficult graduate programs in the US, and yet, I couldn’t find the strength to go through with either. To say my family was disappointed would be an understatement. But I couldn’t go through with something that felt so wrong! Regardless of how hard I had worked to get there.

    Well, one random late-summer day, I got tired of my boyfriend complaining about his back pain, so I went to a chiropractor to set him up an appointment. I had been to a few before and the profession never interested me… but this one was different. It was not just cracking backs, but a rehabilitation center. It was everything I had wanted to do with horses… but with people! What’s more, is that a chiropractor can specialize in animal health as well! It was love at first sight. Immediately, I contacted some schools, shadowed the chiropractor, and started exploring the field. One school told me that if I got all the paperwork in within six weeks, they’d find a spot for me in the class, starting that fall!

    I’m just now finishing up my first year and this has been, hands down, the best decision of my life. My peers are the most amazing people I’ve ever met. The program is challenging, the teachers are superb, and the subjects are captivating. I have to stop myself from spending all day on campus – studying new material and attending special seminars. When I graduate, I will start a practice that has equine and human sports rehabilitation. I am excited for the future, but also cannot stop myself from enjoying every single moment that I’m here.

    I know that I’m only 23, and many of you have much more life experience than myself. But for those who do not, I advise you to always work hard. I was able to change my mind about dentistry and veterinary medicine because my grades were impeccable, my employers/professors admired & respected me, and I spent money on applications and tests rather than a new set of heels. Furthermore, I believe that you should never be afraid to make mistakes. My life has been a trail of steep hill climbs, switchbacks, and even a few u-turns. I don’t know which mountain I’m headed for, but each wrong turn I take only makes me more confident that where I’m headed now is the right path.

    • Jackie

      June 15, 2014 at 8:24 am

      I love your story …. great advise at a young age. To go along with your emphasis on hard work there is a saying “Luck is 98% preparation” unknown … and here you prove this out to be so true.
      I hope you post again to say how it is all going.

    • Marsha Behr

      June 15, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Hope you start your practice in an area that really needs your skills, like central Wisconsin. 🙂

  33. krisanda James

    June 15, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I always wanted to have a career with horses but i was told and thought you couldnt make a living out of that. I can see now i didnt have the confidence to believe that i could and chase my dream. Im 40 now and i have spent my life as a mother and always had my horses and trained them and been into Natural Horsemanship type training. Im proud of how my horses are trained and id still like to be a horse trainer and instructor, I believe I have the skills but ive got no formal training and dont have alot of shows ive won so i havent got the confidence to put myself out there. I work as a nurse.

  34. Haylee

    June 15, 2014 at 1:19 am

    I pretty much want to do exactly what you are. 🙂 I currently run my own feeding and horse care business as well as hire myself out as a rider for hire.

    I’m 19, and I’ve been self employed since I was 14. I don’t make a whole lot, but I’m hoping one day I will.

    Any tips?


  35. Tracy Chapman

    June 15, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I’d be a vet – specialising in equines & dogs. I’m 47 only just realised I cld do it but can’t afford it, have 19 horses & can’t afford to relocate them all to live near a big enough city to study it. I’ve also already spent 8yrs at uni so not sure I really cld push myself into another 4-5yrs…. I’m happy training my horses though for the time being & I’m no longer lecturing (my old job) as burnt out….& it no longer makes my heart sing….perhaps that enough at this time & the answer to the rest will be there when I’m strong enough 🙂 love your work Stacey! You’re a priceless gem xx

  36. Julia

    June 15, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I used to do accounting actually. It wasn’t so bad because I enjoy math and sometimes the job is like doing math puzzles which I like. But my dream has always been to work with horses so early 2013 when I had my “mid-life crisis” I gave up the accounting career and went to school to become an equine massage therapist. I decided that and being a riding instructor were the things I really wanted to do in regards to horses. Being a riding instructor seemed completely out of reach though and I was lucky enough there is an excellent equine massage therapy school close to where I live. But as fate would have it, right after signing up for school I saw an add on craigslist that a pony camp needed instructors. I applied just for the heck of it, told them my horse experience and that I’d helped teach preschool when my daughter was young and figured it was a shot in the dark – why would they hire me?. But weirdly enough they did hire me and I worked there while going to school. It’s been amazing and I feel truly blessed to be able to have a career based on working with horses! I used to think I wanted to train horses, but I realized after working with trainers with my own horses that what I really wanted was to be more involved with healing – for both horses and humans. And I’m finding that not only as an equine massage therapist but that there is also a lot of healing involved in teaching riding lessons to kids. I kind of became the go-to instructor for really scared kids and kids with special needs and it was amazing to find out I had that skill. Now I’m looking at furthering my education in teaching too and maybe pursuing education in being a therapeutic riding instructor. I made this career change when I was 45 years old so it is never too late!

  37. Jessica Berry

    June 15, 2014 at 2:28 am

    I currently work for Sam’s Club as a night stocker. But if I could do anything else it would be to be a vet! I have always wanted to be a vet! But right after high school I got married and had babies. I don’t have the money or time to attend vet school. P.s I cried when I outgrew being a jockey too… Ha

  38. Kendall

    June 15, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Thanks for answering my question Stacy! You’re kind of awesome 🙂 okay a lot awesome! Thank you for sharing your story with us and just in case you wanted to hear mine here it is. I’m 19 in college working towards an animal science degree but I have NO IDEA what career I want to do. Which is half of the reason I asked you the question, other than just general curiousity. Here’s what I do know: I love horses, I loved having pigs more than I liked showing them in FFA, I’m pretty sure I want to work with animals, I do not want to be a vet. I interned for a chiropractor thinking I could do rehab on horses and dogs and not have to go thru 8 years of medical school, well then he told me they had to take 30 hours a semester!! Just crazy! I could be a vet tech then specialize in animal rehab but I wouldn’t be as qualified and wouldn’t be more than an assistant (according to a website). Then I started looking into physical therapy school and specializing in animals afterward but that’s an 8 year degree, focusing on humans, and I would probably have to take kadavar lab, twice! Excuse me but eww!
    It looks like I want to do rehab on animals right, and why am I not picking one of those things and just going with it? Well because that would be easy, and those little voices in my head keep saying what if you would be good at, or enjoy something else more. Like a nutritionist, or a mare midwife and take care of adorable babies, or an embryologist and make adorable babies, or an actress (says my 8 year old self) lol. There are so many reasons why I would or wouldn’t do these things but it really comes down to this: what if I choose one of these things and end up hating it. Which would not only waste my time and money but my parents time and money which only goes so far. What if the thing I choose isn’t available at an agriculture college, preferably OSU, which I realize is a stupid reason but it’s kind of important to me. People keep telling me I have time to figure everything out, but the way I see it I only have a semester left before I need to have it all figured out, so I can apply to the right programs. I know I sound crazy, and annoying, and complicated but I don’t want to make a mistake or realize I could have done something differently and be just as happy if not happier. I mean it’s only the rest of my life I’m deciding on here!
    You said if you read this to leave a post, and this is… probably not what you were expecting. But there it is the struggle of a college student in a box. Which I’m sure not all college students go thru this but this one does a little to much second guessing. Like I said it’s only the rest of my life I’m deciding on, it should be easy right? Haha

    • Jackie

      June 15, 2014 at 8:42 am

      I think people who know what they wanted to be all their lives and do it are so lucky. Trying to figure things out can be daunting. But, you really do have the rest of your life to decide what you want to do. You may need to make a decision at the end of this semester but you get to decide everyday what you want to be when you grow up. My advise here as (I near the end of my career) is to avoid debt. Your choices will be limited if not eliminated if you are in debt.

      Also I’ve learned that growing up poor is not the worse thing in the world. You can work hard all your life working to pay for things, home, car, children, stuff to wear and stuff for the home. And in the end … stuff is not so important. God, spirit, life, love, family, health, friends, and animals now these are important parts of life(IMHO). Enjoy your exploring what you might do in the future … make sure to enjoy the journey as much as you plan to enjoy the destination.

    • Stacy

      June 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      I would recommend to several of the people who have posted here the book, “Life is what you make it” by Peter Buffett. He does a great job of showing how all the life experience you gain can lead you somewhere you didn’t expect…plus I love the fact that his dad, Warren Buffett, didn’t give him much money to start but DID make him give away millions a year, lol…I love it.

  39. Heidi Susanne Koch

    June 15, 2014 at 4:30 am

    Hello Tracy. Thank you for sharing. I am writing from Spain, Europe. My name is Susanne and I am over 50 now. My parents never liked animals, but I love horses. So, I always do something normal for my living like working in a furniture shop, but my heart is with my horses. I have hired a mountain side and first of all I am concerned about their wellbeing: Social contact, running, playing.
    If I was employing them in a business to make money I would have to please the customers and run the risk of hurting them and they would burn out quickly. But one day I will have my own riding school. I will have to buy small ponis for little kiddis and some gentle big ones for beginners. So first of all I will have to buy the place and look for some facilities. Actually I am trying to sell the house where I am living and pay the morgage. The money left over will pay for the mountain side. Meanwhile I have been studying a lot about horses and my favourite books are TALKING WITH HORSES by Henry Blake and DRESSAGE WITH MIND BODY SOUL BY Linda Tellington Jones.

  40. Mie

    June 15, 2014 at 6:20 am

    I’d love to train horses again and do it my way, so young and old would understand. Sweden is good in many ways but lacks in others. Because of my body and it’s problem I have to deal with a lot of pain and I don’t have the same strength any more. But I still have a dream.

  41. Kathy Ward

    June 15, 2014 at 6:34 am

    I also always wanted to do something with horses and managed to have some nice horses over the years but never the horse ranch that I wanted. Now, at 69 years old and my husband and I are retired and not wealthy enough to buy the land required, I’ve given up that dream, but God has placed us in situations to do other things. My dream of rescuing horses and other animals has had to pare down to having a tiny little kitty rescue. But I dream vicariously through your blogs. Love to read everything you put up and watch your videos. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched you and Roxie win that reining championship and get goosebumps and tears every time. I don’t know you, but I love you, girl.

  42. zara

    June 15, 2014 at 6:34 am

    I’d love to work with horses. My dream from being very, very little has been to be a professional show jumper. Not doing that cause I don’t have the money to. Don’t even have the money for a cheap horse at this point in time! I’m gonna do a degree in Zoology, providing I get the grades, and work with animal conservation hopefully instead!

  43. carol haylett

    June 15, 2014 at 6:37 am

    stacy, I love reading your training info, and blogs. I have various health issues, as well, as age against me, but have always loved working with horses, dogs, and kids. like you, I was extremely shy growing up, but in my 20’s decided, why? I learned that my terrors of talking in front of others was silly, because they were no different than I was. go for your dreams now while you have your health, and treasure your family while you have them. too soon they will be taken away. and create all the memories you can. you can never know how many lives you are touching in a wonderful positive way.

  44. Jenn S

    June 15, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I also went to college to train horses. And I met you and Roxy when you and Jesse came to be guest instructors at The University of Findlay in the 2009-2010 school year. I graduated with my bachelors in 2010, knowing I wouldn’t be training horses full time. I had not spent the time that my peers did over summer breaks working for other horse trainers and gaining the knowledge and connections you need to get into the horse training world. Also, I am very family-bound. I love my family more than a potential career and I guess that is what held me back. I grew up (and now live) in Rochester, New York where the majority of people who ride, ride hunter jumpers and dressage horses, which I know nothing about. I prefer reining, cutting, and ranch work, of which there is hardly any in this area.
    So I went to school for culinary at the local community college when I finished Findlay and have an Associates degree in Hospitality Management. Now, I work in the bakery at one of the Wegmans grocery stores close to home as a middle-management type position. I can pay my bills, I have a semi-regular schedule (except I work every weekend) and I get to see and ride my horse (also from Findlay-Little Shakey) about 4 times a week. I wish I had time to give lessons or train someones horse. Shakey is awesome but she is in retirement from Findlay and knows just about everything and so there isn’t much of a challenge.
    I wish I could start an animal bakery where I could combine both of my passions and make gourmet dog/cat/horse treats, but I know that is not practical right now. The practicality of life gets in the way for me.

  45. Roz

    June 15, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I feel so fortunate to still be able to train and ride my horse – as a Senior we don’t jump massive fences but I love Ode and x country is THE best buzz for me. I wanted to work with horses but couldn’t see a great future in it in the seventies – so I did an intensive secretarial course and travelled. I now love the simple life – animals, friends, kids and grand kids and my horses – continuing learning with all aspects of horsemanship. What would I like to do? Write, learn the organ, spend time with family so yes I need to do more – thanks for the wake up call!!!!! NOW is the only time. I love reading your training Jac and watching your videos. How u can talk at the same time as training is just awesome!!!!

    • Jackie

      June 15, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Roz …. great post!

  46. Tasha Sevigny

    June 15, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I am the head wrangler at a bible camp on the edge of a national park in canada. I get to teach kids to ride all summer and get to train horses all winter. It is the best of everything I would ever want. Teaching and training while having the chance to share my faith with everyone that comes here! I live down the road from cattle farmers who still do it all on horse back so I get to help with round up and my church in 4 miles away so we ride to church on Sunday’s. I love all my students and seeing them grow through their interaction with horses 🙂 Thanks for asking the question because I am feeling really greatful today 🙂

  47. Teresa Crawford

    June 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I would like to be a full-time firefighter/ems instructor. I am currently a certified fire instructor with the state of Ohio but you need a Charter to teach out of your station. Our fire station is a volunteer station and does not have the funds to remodel to meet the criteria. That would be a great dream job!

  48. Suzanne Rowe

    June 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Let me start by saying I like what I do and that is work with adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses who are court ordered to our treatment facility. It is challenging, rewarding and never dull. But my true calling has always been farming/ranching/horses in a warm climate.

    The cards were never aligned to this path. God has led me on many adventures in my life and I have made good choices and some bad when it came to my life path.

    At this time in my life I am blessed with a good job, a great husband (who encourages me to be active in my many, many hobbies and interests) and wonderful children. So even though I am not actively engaged in the career I would love I am happy where I am at.

    • Stacy

      June 15, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Thanks for sharing! I love that you can see both sides of this.

  49. Sabra

    June 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

    The dream job that I’m reaching for is to be able to own a large horse breeding ranch with my best friend. We are in college right now, both getting minors in Equine Science, and this whole idea started as a small assignment that has slowly grown and grown into an actual dream. We are both in love with different aspects of raising horses and really think someday we could make a real go of this. But for now, we are saving and dreaming and spending as much time as possible learning anything and everything that we can.

    Many people have a hard time beleiving that we can really do it. That the dream is too far fetched and that we haven’t been around horses enough to be any good at it. (To be honest, I think the people who haven’t grown up around horses seem the most eager to learn about all these things that the people who have.) I grew up in Chicago and only in the last few years fallen head over heels for horses. My friend never owned horses but had friends who did. We both share an extreme passion for the industry and can’t wait to be more involved and help improve it.

    Did you ever have anyone tell you that you couldn’t do something that you dreamed of doing?

    • Stacy

      June 15, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Yep! It is very intimidating. The first bridleless ride I did people were running into the arena saying, “She’s really going to do it!”…not in an encouraging way either, more of the “she’s crazy…come watch this”

  50. Akka Voskuil

    June 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I always wanted to do something with horses, but since I have very little experience, and am late to the game (picked up riding at 20..) compared to most people with the same dream, and also because I cannot afford my own horse, or more than 3 lessons a month, I started studying informatics. I am working in that field now and really enjoy it, and the plus is that in a few years, with more experience and a better salary, i will be able to buy a horse of my own without having to worry about finances too much. I will be keeping horses as a hobby and a passion, and although I hope to rehabilitate ottbs sometime in my life, i think it will always be as a hobby, or at most a sidebusiness.

  51. mbckcannon

    June 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Work with horses. Had them most of my life even most of my 26 years as a military spouse and moving every 2-3 years. We didn’t have the money for school so I did accounting (lol) jobs before going into the military myself. I’ve been a barn manager to work off board and learned natural horsemanship as a result. I’m now living life thru my daughter! She just graduated with a bachelor degree in equine business management with a minor in business management and is interviewing with a couple of horse retail companies, while currently working as a riding instructor at a summer camp way up in Casco, Maine. l still have horses and I look forward to the day (soon) where we’ll retire to our own place and I can have my boys not boarded as well as take in fosters or work with SPCA or humane society on horse issues.

  52. Ashley

    June 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Stacy, I really love this blog because it sounds similar to what I’m going through right now! I am 18 and have loved horses since the day I was born. I’ve always known I wanted to do something in the horse industry. I had my sights set on veterinary school since I was in kindergarten! I never knew about any sports in the industry when I was little other than racing and barrel racing, neither of which truly interested me. Then one day a few years ago, my mom called me to the computer and said “Ashley you have to watch this! It’s amazing!” That is the day I saw your bridleless ride on Roxy and was hooked on reining! I researched everything I could possibly think of to find out more about the sport, maneuvers, trainers, how they got the horses to do what they do. I even boarded my own horse (who I found out was reining bred!) and trained her for reining. I found a reining trainer here in my town who I interned with for about four and a half months. Then about eight months ago I received what I thought to be the opportunity of a lifetime. A widely known reining trainer was hiring, and I got the job!! I moved three hours away from home (at 17) and began working for this trainer. I learned quickly that I chose the wrong trainer. They did not truly care about the horses like I did. To them they were just money makers and machines 😦 They flew me up to join them at the Quarter Horse Congress, (I wanted so badly to meet you there!) and I got food poisoning, but felt OK the next day. we drove to another show a day later and I kept getting sicker and sicker. After we returned home I could barely walk and could not focus on anything, but I still tried to work. After a few days, since I was still 17, my parents came down and took me to a doctor who told me not to work for at least a week. I relayed that to my trainer and my parents took me back home, where I went to see my regular doctor, who told me I had a severe liver infection and told me not to work until further notice. I, again, told my trainer about it, but I was told that illness is not tolerated at their barn, and that I could either come back to work sick or find another place to work. Since I physically couldn’t work, I resigned. I only worked there for five weeks, but it most definitely changed my life. It took me well over three months to fully recover, and ever since then I have been searching for a job. I have thought again about vet school, but my parents have told me we cannot afford it. 😦 I would still love to be a reining trainer, but I will be much more observant and careful when it comes to choosing a trainer to work for! Unfortunately, there are no more reining trainers close to me, and I don’t know where to go from here 😦 I absolutely love the way you train horses and connect with them and love them! You truly are my inspiration! If you could, I would love your advice on my situation and what you think about it! Thank you!

  53. crazymommamel

    June 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I would most definitely be training racehorses. It was my dream from when I was a little girl. I started riding when I was very small an decided the only way to get a scholarship to a local private college that had an equine program (the only one in my state at the time), was to become really good at riding Equitation/Hunter/Jumper classes. So I did. I owned 3 horses by the time I was 7 years old. Even had a scholarship offer to that private college for their equestrian team when I was 13 years old (as long as I kept up my riding skills…oh yea, and grades.) Then I blew my knee out and 2 surgeries later I was convinced by my orthopedic that I would never ride in high level competition again. I lost my scholarship (since I wasn’t riding anymore), and decided that none of my dreams would ever come true again. Fast forward a LOT of years, and I am a Veteran, a Mother to 3 beautiful kids and a wife to the most amazing husband who is a farmer. 🙂 I let a lot of doctors extinguish dreams that they never should have been allowed to touch. I share this story in the hoes that NO ONE else will let ANYONE snuff their dreams

    p/s: I got on a horse for the first time in over a decade, 2 months ago. It still hurt, but western riding is sooo much easier on my knees and I LOVE trail riding!!! My new dream is to be able to trail ride and maybe train for western competition a little bit. And I do still love going to the races 🙂

  54. Buckit List (@HorseBuckitList)

    June 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I am a writer and own a marketing firm so get to work from home and I love what I do. Problem is, I work 80-90 hour weeks and have no time for anything else. We have three horses (in Los Angeles so you can only imagine my horsie bills) so I need to work this hard. But I have zero time to myself or for fun. So if I could do anything it would be to keep doing what I do, only fewer hours so I could adopt even more rescue horses and play at the barn!

  55. Karen Bonhomme

    June 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Recently I hit rock bottom losing my job and no college education from dropping out 3 years ago. I was at a standstill wondering what to do with my life as I am very young of 23. I have 2 horses and a mini horse that I was at risk losing after losing my job. The barn I board my horses at always wondered why didn’t I go for a equine program for college and that was because I was always told I could do nothing with a equine degree. Now I am registered for Fall 14 back in school since now I know I need horses to be a part of my life in every way. I can’t let people try to tell me what I can be successful at because I am my only limitation. I have always wanted to do something with horses but let, “what if’s” and fear of failing rule my decisions. Now I am making the decisions and taking full responsibility of my choices and be proud of them. I want to be a success for myself and be happy! Stacy I hope one day to see you in the reining ring while I am waiting to be called up next. Thank you

  56. Vernell Schutte

    June 15, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    As a kid I wanted to be a teacher or a vet – almost all my time was spent on a horse. But I got married between my junior and senior year – so there went both those options. I know work for the post office and do well. But still wish I had pursued horse training or breeding as a career. Age and location are against me there. Our area is not real horse oriented…. There was a trainer here who charged $300 a month to train (included feed) and people thought him crazy expensive!!

  57. Morgan Wilder

    June 15, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I used to be a telecommunications technician. At 27, my husband and I moved to British Columbia from Ontario. Couldn’t find work in my field and started workin’ in barns. I’ve always been a horse nut but growing up just outside Toronto didn’t give me too many opportunities to experience horses. I’m now becoming very experienced in the horse world and am learning more every day! We currently live above a beautiful barn, where I’ve now been involved in the birth of 22 foals! It’s not where I thought I would be at 34. I wouldn’t go back to my old job….I love this horsey world I live in!

  58. Becky Clifton

    June 15, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I do totally enjoy your blogs and what you are doing with Jac. I am 63 years young and have loved horses for as long as I can remember, We never had any money and growing up in the 50’s and 60’s well in my opinion now were the best years to be growing up. Every year at Christmas and for my birthday my Mom would ask what I wanted and I always gave her the same answer”A Horse, buy me a horse and I will never ask for anything again” So on my ninth Christmas, my dream came true, got up Christmas morning and my Mom and my Brother had their coats on and mom said hurry get dressed, so I did kept asking what is going on and they said you will see. We walked out to this little shed in our back yard, my brother opened the door and I couldn’t believe it, there stood the most beautiful half Hackney and half Shetland pony, and she nickered at me, I ran over threw my arms around her neck and just hugged her with all my might. I then ran back over and gave my mom and Brother the biggest hug and kiss It was just so can’t explain the feeling but if you love horses you know that feeling you get. So now that I am retired I would really like to work with horses, my significant other and I have four, 2 quarter horses and two Tennessee Walkers, so we actually took the 2 quarter horses yesterday and went to one of the local state parks for a trail ride, it was such a beautiful day and the horses love to go on trails. The one thing I need to learn is to drive the truck with the Horse trailer, I have never done that and that concerns me, but the other is to be able to just go and ride whenever I want and not have to depend on someone to take me and my horse. I would just really just like to ride, exercise horses or just ride them and do or something along those lines, I have a pretty good seat and would just enjoy being with horses and riding them.
    That is what I would like to do, just be with horses and ride every day. Thank you

  59. Courtney

    June 15, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I am a recent graduate from college with a bachelors degree in accounting. During that time I worked two part time jobs an volunteered at a horse stable where I met my boyfriend. When we werr kids his family and myself my sister an best friend would all take lessons together for years ! Times went on sports were bigger than riding in high school. I ran into him at the barn we became friends again an before you knew it we were dating. For him I want to thank all the stuff that I missed out when I was younger about learning horse stuff. From saddles to events to types of horses to what you should be looking in a horse when I was ready to but one. There was so much I that learned for him that I could never forget, one day the cowboy was lost in his soul an didn’t know what he wanted . We broke up , he went out to Wyoming to work on ranch while finished school. During that time he never called , wrote or anything. It was hard but time to move one I did an thought I had a great guy but just ended up being a jerk! Sept came by I got a call it was him !!! I was hapoy to hear his voice he found his soul again I could hear it !!! When he came home he wanted to try things again but in his terms, I didn’t like how he wanted to get back together so I didn’t say yes. It was hard but I just couldn’t let myself get hurt again. Months almost 2 years without riding an I am about to break . Its hard when your family doesn’t understand what a horse can do to someone’s soul ! It’s truly amazing an I wouldn’t change it for the world . Now I have a great boyfriend however he knows nothing about horses, it’s hard but I try an teach him little by little . I still don’t have a horse yet due to that jerk of a guy he left me some debt that I would rather get paid first than have my freedom to have a couple of horses! Having a degree is great ; but when your passionate about something that makes you so happy than your degree means nothing to you if you can’t in corporate it . If I could find a way to have accounting / business with horses I would !!! I know horses are business but it’s just how to get to where I want to be!!!

  60. Barbie Hon

    June 16, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    I would LOVE to barrel race! My daughter barrel raced when she was younger and we took her to all the local rodeo’s. I LOVE watching barrel racing. I record the WNFR every year and watch all 10 rounds of the barrel racing. One of my fav’s is Sherri Cervi. I trail ride a lot! We’ve ridden in the Black Hills of S. Dakota, the Appalachians of VA, the Ozarks in MO, the Cumberlands in TN, the Ouichita’s in OK and I consider myself a pretty good rider. But I’ve just never had the nerve to get a barrel horse or try it. I guess I’m a little intimidated? I’m almost 50 yo now and I guess I figure I’m just getting too old to start now. I am a HS teacher and I have my summers off so it’s not like I don’t have time. I keep saying someday…..

  61. oneal3030

    June 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I work in IT as a Microsoft Certified instructor teaching others how to use Microsoft products. I would give that all up today if I could find a way to keep my household going while devoting my live to horses. In an effort my wife and I have recently started an eCommerce site where we make hand tied halters, ropes, reins, paracord items etc. My goal is to see this business grow to a level that it will support us, our horsing habits and keep us working and sharing our passions together. I would love to be the trainer that you are! It is very difficult to be a great trainer when you only have an hour a day to devote.

  62. cm

    June 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    actually, I am doing what I wanted. I am an artist, specializing in painting horses, dogs and landscapes. I also have the time to ride. and ride, and ride and ride! work with some young horses too. I would, if given the chance, like to take some horse training clinics and get a lot better, be able to start more young horses under saddle myself. I am taking a barefoot trimming class, so at least getting somewhere on that.

  63. Judy Jones

    June 20, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I am a Systems Engineer. But what I really want to do, and what I actually do for free most of the time, is make good horses. I LOVE turning a horse into a loyal, usable, talented, and dependable horse. I’m not doing it for a living because I would need to get better at it to be able to pay the bills haha But I hope and pray that one day my office will be my barn and my coworkers my horses and my dog 🙂

  64. johanna

    June 24, 2014 at 3:57 am

    stacy, thanks for the book recommendation, i will check it out.

    well, in addition to always loving Art and Design, i started out fervently wanting to be a jockey, or a horse trainer; i was summarily talked out of that and i decided quite late in college to be a horse vet, which would enable me to work with horses and large animals and still make some money.
    i had a car accident and ended up in a wheelchair after graduating from college and then decided to be a small animal vet, at least.

    i did that, and have always missed horses-the smell of the barn, the figuring out what is in their mind, the closeness of riding with them, the feel of their muscles, etc. i train dogs, which has been wonderful and i have pursued a small Art career (which has been a savior) alongside being a vet…but i’d like to be able to find the right horse, or probably pony–like an Icelandic, that i could safely ride and perhaps help train and go on long distance treks and such..places i can’t go in my chair, too.

    i’ve found that being a vet is a fun challenge mentally, i enjoyed helping people with their animals (giving back) and i did get to work with animals; but really, being a vet is more about working with diseases and with people. i don’t regret doing it (it was a good challenge, well accomplished) but looking back, i did it for the wrong reasons, as is probably apparent by what i wrote above…it’s not what my blood is made up of.. i didn’t listen to my heart and soul and i wasn’t courageous enough to disregard the Fears that seemed to put a wall up between me and my heart.

    now, after 20 years of vetting, i am attempting to do just that. the Fears are still there, but i am listening to the Joy instead :D. i am pursuing the creative path full time and my dream would be to become financially solvent doing this and truly bring forth my best, in every way.
    i will continue training dogs, goats, rabbits, sheep, whatever — i am always doing it, mindfully, no matter what’s going on. and i’d like to explore the possibilities of that pony…

    [an FYI to all those posters here wanting to be a vet or vet tech: there are so many student loans available for that! i funded my entire vet education with those loans, (and paid them back). if you really want it, it is very possible to do it with no starting money!, no matter what age–there was a guy in my vet class who was at least 50..]

  65. Caleb

    June 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I am happy that you were able to find a career working with horses.


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